Lorine Niedecker

Lorine Niedecker

I think of Lorine her life
on the edge of water

the gliding river
or lake or swamp

and the simplicity
and the beauty of the poetry

she made from leaves
or broken reeds

floating on the surface
from carp swimming below

the hum of summer
and the slow burn of time

the hours fishing the shallows
with a hook and line

and the silent words
seeping into her soul

John Lyons

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Blessings

song sparrow
The song sparrow

Blessings

Rainy day
          In the silence
         yellow warblers
and wild canaries
                  Bushes in bloom
                  honeysuckle
                  dogwood
                  Japanese quince

A lawn full of dandelions
Two rows of lettuce
         sown today
I get song sparrows
         wrens
                  cardinals
northern yellow-throats

From the kitchen
casement window
         I see fireflies at night
The shade of the Sugar Maple
                  is a blessing

                  one of many

John Lyons


The above poem draws data from two letters written by Lorine Niedecker to Louis Zukofsky.


 

 

Lorine Niedecker

niedecker2
Lorine Niedecker

Lorine Niedecker was born in 1903 in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and lived in this wilderness area for most of her life. Her isolation from other writers and the beauty of her natural surroundings had a profound impact on her work. Niedecker chose to write in seclusion, and many of her closest relatives and neighbors were unaware that she was a poet. She had a brief relationship with the poet Louis Zukofsky in New York, but apart from that she continued to live in relative obscurity. In later years she was befriended by the British poet, Basil Bunting, the author of Briggflats, and one-time disciple of Ezra Pound; but for much of her life she lived in poverty, earning her living as a cleaning lady in a Fort Atkinson hospital. Since her death on 31 December 1970, her reputation as one of the most significant American poets of the 20th century has grown enormously. At the core of her writing are terse observations of her rural environment: the birds, trees, water and marshland that surrounded her.


For a selection of Lorine Niedecker’s poems see http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/lorine-niedecker#about


 

John Lyons